Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gerrymandering Pushes GOP Further To The Right

Writing in The Nation, Rick Perlstein (left) explains how the Republicans' "aggressive gerrymandering of Congress by conservative state legislatures" has resulted in the party's control of the House and further rightward shift:

The engineers of the shutdown were aided by the final structural component that makes the current conservative push different from right-wing crusades of the past: the aggressive gerrymandering of Congress by conservative state legislatures. To take one infamous example, Pennsylvania has thirteen Republican and only five Democratic members of Congress, even though 52 percent of the state’s voters chose Barack Obama in 2012. That had been the plan all along: as a Texas Republican operative close to Tom DeLay said about their redistricting work following the 2000 Census, “This has a real national impact that should assure that Republicans keep the House no matter the national mood.” It has also meant that Republican seats have become so safe that the remorseless far-right ideological entrepreneurs have been able to run further- and further-right candidates in primaries against establishment Republicans. It’s a win-win strategy: even if their candidates lose, they manage to drive incumbents far to the right to save their seats; and if they win, Tea Party representatives can rest secure in the knowledge that their re-election is safe no matter how recklessly they “govern.”

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